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Zimbabwe Government, Civil Servants, Seek Agreement On Wages


Representatives of Zimbabwe's Public Service Association, which represents civil servants, were to meet on Friday with government officials for discussion about wage adjustments which PSA officials said might forestall job actions by state workers.

Zimbabwe has been experiencing intense labor unrest since the start of this year as a 300% salary increase granted to all public employees failed to satisfy workers facing 1,200% inflation. Resident doctors in public hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo, the country's second-largest city, went on strike in late December. Most teachers are refusing to enter classrooms until they receive significant pay increases.

PSA Executive Secretary Emmanuel Tichareva said that despite veiled threats of unspecified action, the PSA has decided to give Harare another chance to make a deal. The Zimbabwe Teachers Association, which is perceived to be pro-government, was to be represented at the bargaining table. But the Progressive Teachers Union, whose 17,000 members have been on strike since Monday, was not invited.

The Public Service Association, which represents some 25,000 state workers, called a nationwide strike in 1998 which virtually crippled government operations.

PSA chief Tichareva told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that if tomorrow’s meeting fails to yield the desired salary adjustments, his association would have to go back to its members to examine other options.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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